Way back when the worldwide web was just starting to explode, to become a daily part of life, but before smart phones & Facebook, I joined a message board. It was 2000. A new Century had dawned and I was cold & lonely & pregnant in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

The message board was for moms expecting babies in 2001. That was me! Pregnant with Tess. Home alone with 4 boys, while Dave was “away” with the Army. Minnesota was too cold for any family members to come visit, and I hadn’t made a bazillion friends yet in our new state. That may have been because I was afraid to stick a toe outside, for fear it would spontaneously freeze and fall off.

With no real, tangible, friends, I dove into message boards with a passion. I soon found fake friends from around the country, even around the globe. Fake friends that became real friends, and one fake friend that became a best friend. I found my Emma. Emma who I love with my whole body & soul. Emma who loves me back. Emma who is still a part of my life today. Every day.

Back then I would drive to Chicago about once a month to visit Emma. After we moved to North Carolina in 2004, my visits became less. Once I moved to Germany in 2009, my visits dwindled down to one. Until my mad birthday tour through the states! My flight home was via Chicago and I extended my layover two days. Two days to visit my Emma, hubby Derrick, and her boys Garrett (Tess’ age) and my godsons Logan & Connor. Oh how I had missed them!

Emma, Logan & Connor

The bean & the Chicago skyline

I’m in love with the bean!

The “L” or elevated train that runs all through Chicago.

On the platform waiting for the “L” just outside Wrigley Field

Logan… on our way into Chinatown for some bubble tea (yuck) and dim sum (yum)!

The famous Chicago river & the Opera building to the right

Underneath the “L”

Chicago City Scene